Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2/10/14 The Prodigal

Dearest Family and Friends:

This week was definitely a good one! Except for transfers...My companion will be leaving me. I am sad to see Sister Lang go. We had THE BEST 2 transfers and so much progression and many miracles! It was too good to be true! We celebrated/ mourned last night with cake and writing our names under the table that we spend so much time around (hopefully no one ever finds it)...I will find out who my new companion is tomorrow. I am happy that I get to say in the same area though. I couldn't leave right now! 

This week I read the talk "The Other Prodigal" by Jeffrey R. Holland a few times and then a new mormon message came out about it, so it has really been on my mind. It is basically about the other son in the story of the prodigal son. It is about jealousy. Holland brings up the idea of the other son being a prisoner of jealousy. He is jealous when his brother returns and therefore also needs to come to himself and find his way back to the Father. Holland says in the talk, "One who has heretofore presumably been very happy with his life and content with his good fortune suddenly feels very unhappy simply because another has had some good fortune as well." There are always influences telling us that we need to be better and are constantly comparing ourselves to others. Jealousy is something that I think every human being struggles with. It is sad because it is so hard to serve and help others when we are jealous. We all have different weaknesses and strengths. How amazing would it be if instead of being jealous of others, if we could just be happy for others accomplishments and work together! Amazing things would happen! We are all just trying to make it and return to our Heavenly Father. We should be happy for one another and help each other get there! Holland said in the talk- "No one of us is less treasured or cherished of God that another. I testify that He loves each of us-insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all. He doesn't measure our talents or our looks; He doesn't measure out professions or out possessions. He cheers on every runner, calling out that the race is against sin, not against each other." 

I think that we can all relate to the other prodigal son in one way or another. I would hope that we would all try to overcome our jealous tendencies and be confident in ourselves as children of God and help our brothers and sisters by praising them and being happy for them. I think one of the things I love most about the people of the Philippines is that they really have very little jealousy. They are always happy for one another and so happy with who they are. I hope that will rub of on me! 

So about my week! Such a good one! I hit my 8th month mark! Crazy! It has been 8 months of growth, change, and miracles. I can't imagine my life without meeting all the people I have met on my mission and am so glad that I have another 10 months to keep building relationships and overcoming my many weaknesses. I really am so lucky to live in this beautiful country with the best people! I have for sure learned that the gift of tongues is real. It doesn't come all at once, but looking over the last 8 months, it comes. 

The beginning of the week was a lot of visiting investigators and telling them sorry we didn't visit them last week because we were stranded in Legazpi. On tuesday morning we went to Rosalie and when we came back later to teach her kids they had made us signs that said "Welcome Home" and "Mabuhay" and "We love you." They are the cutest! Rosalie has been awesome this week! She gave us so many referrals. She wants her entire family to listen to us and start coming to church- so we are now teaching all her kids and all her siblings. She is the best! 
Our investigator Marilyn is also going so awesome! She is so happy ever since we started teaching her and she came to church for the 5th time this Sunday! She never ceases to make me smile. Glen and Riza are doing awesome too! They are reading a ton in the Book of Mormon and accepted a baptisimal date!! Our 12 year old investigator Jeralyn read the first 4 chapters in the Book of Mormon in 3 days and then asked if she could keep going until she finished...Ummm. yeah you do that Jeralyn. I for sure wasn't asking people if I could finish the Book of Mormon when I was 12...she is so awesome! 

We had a really cool experience with our new investigator Biby. We finished our lesson with her and asked her is she had any questions or anything and she said she had something she wanted to tell us (she is really shy and doesn't say much, so it was a big deal). Anyway, she said that she has changed ever since we have started teaching her and that we are giving her the chance to repent. She said she cried while she prayed about the Book of Mormon and could feel Jesus with her telling her that it was true. As she talked to us my faith was reaffirmed that as missionaries we really do have the truth and that our job is SO important! I am always amazed and get so excited and emotional in those moments when investigators tell you that they know it is true. It is so amazing and I just can't believe that me- 20 year old me can help people recognize the truth. That is why I know that it is not me, it is our Heavenly Father working through his weak missionaries. 

On Saturday we had a branch activity about families. We showed some Mormon messages and had some speakers and then played games and had food. It was so awesome! We had 14 of our investigators show up! You best believe it was a good time. Give Filipinos some games and they go crazy! Marilyn and Riza were getting so into all the games, I was laughing so hard. The only problem was they all spend their pamesahe to get to the activity so not very many came to church...sayang. 

Now for some funny stories... We taught our investigator the 10 commandments so about taking the Lord's name in vain and then right after the lesson her little girl was being loud and so she goes "oh diyesus" (just quoting). It was so funny, but she isn't really the joking type, so I held my laugh in the best I could until we left. She kept that commandment for a good minute. Another day me and my companion were riding in a tricey and the driver was yelling out to everyone at the top of his lungs "These are my girlfriends" at the top of his lungs the whole time we were in the tricey. Gotta love the Philippines. 

That was my week! I love and miss you all! Have a Happy Valentines Day! 

-Sister Gardner

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